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Back to School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

Back to School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

A couple of years ago, I posted about my daughter’s need for an Extreme Makeover – School Lunch Edition. With back-to-school time on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to revisit this inspired, yet failed experiment in healthy lunches for picky eaters.

Despite being called a “Crunchy granola, Birkenstocks and sock wearing mom” from a “positive feedback” anonymous commenter, I stand by my recommendations for kid-friendly school lunches. I taught plenty of children that would gobble up tortilla, cream cheese and carrot wraps when disguised as “Wild Thing Toes” and my own daughter will only eat raw carrots if she has hummus to go with it.

Back to School LunchesBut I’m not hiding behind veils because, as it turned out, my school lunch makeover failed and she basically ate a sunflower seed butter and jam sandwich for lunch every day for the past two years. She’ll let me mix up the sides – fresh fruit, red peppers, pretzels, etc. Despite my brilliant school lunch ideas, she remains pretty staunch on the sandwich. She just doesn’t like any lunch meats, cheese sandwiches, eggs, etc. And the fact that she is so strong-willed (ahem – stubborn) it just wasn’t worth the crying fits and tantrums. And really sunflower seed butter and jam isn’t so bad health-wise.

So with her off to Kindergarten in a few weeks, I think it’s time to resurface the school lunch (or rather sandwich) makeover ideas for my picky eater. I’ve been plotting. I know I need to handle this just right because 1) lately she just doesn’t like my opinion or ideas about anything and 2) well, she just doesn’t like my opinions and ideas and that’s reason enough to tread lightly. I need to make it seem like she has complete control over the situation.

5-Step Guide for School Lunch Makeover

  • Step 1: Buy her a new cool lunchbox of her choice.
  • Step 2: Fill her with back-to-school excitement! Start talking about all the awesome things she’s going to experience in Kindergarten this year – new teachers, new friends, the bus, the school library, eating in a cafeteria, etc.
  • Step 3: Suggest that, as a Kindergartener, she now can start making choices about what goes into her lunch.
  • Step 4: Brainstorm and list what a “good (nutritious but balanced) lunch” may contain – cookies are fine as long as there is also fruit or veggies.
  • Step 5: Use the list to create a weekly school lunch menu, go food shopping together and have her help me each night put together her lunch.
  • Ongoing Beyond Back-to-School Time: Repeat step 5 each week or every 2 weeks and maybe a revisit to step 4 occasionally too!

Toddler girl eating a sandwich

OK – so what did I miss? Do you think these school lunch ideas will work for you picky eaters? What back-to-school tips and tricks will you be trying this year?

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One comment

  1. Ultima Replenisher August 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    This is a great post, Amy, and we really love your idea of Extreme Makeover: Lunchbox Edition. These all sound like great suggestions! We also think choosing a healthy, artifical-free, sugar-free drink for your child’s lunchbox is so essential! Thanks for sharing these tips; keep us posted your Lunchbox Makeover’s success!
    Good luck,
    The Ultima Replenisher Team

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